Participation in the 5th Sexuality, Gender Rights Institute, organised by CREA, 19-26 June 2011 in Istanbul, Turkey

One of the most fundamental stumbling blocks encountered and reported by the project partners of the WRRC-SWG was the difficulty of adequately addressing the many and diverse issues around the denial and oppression of women’s rights in sexuality, especially in the context of fundamentalist and anti-women ‘religious’ interpretations and practices, which are spreading in many parts of the globe, in particular, in Asian and African countries, with disastrous consequences for women’s rights and well-being.


CREA’s annual  ‘Sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute’ (SGRI), offers an excellent opportunity for selected participants to study, deepen their conceptual understanding of issues around sexuality, as well as get input from the excellent multi-disciplinary array of resource persons for the development. The SGRI is a week long residential course offering a conceptual study of sexuality to participants from around the world. It examines the links between sexuality, rights, gender, and health and their interface with socio-cultural and legal issues. Participants critically analyze policy, research and program interventions using a rights-based approach. The international faculty draws from different social science disciplines, reflects on theory and practice, and uses a variety of pedagogical methods. Four Institutes have taken place in New York, USA and Istanbul, Turkey. Its objectives are to further participants’ conceptual understanding of the fields of sexuality, gender, health and human rights and enable them to better implement programs, advocacy initiatives and actions that affirm the sexual rights and reproductive rights of individuals and communities.

During the WRRC project duration, the Sexuality Working Group was able to facilitate the participation of  4 partners in total, to CREA’s  4th and 5th. SGRI sessions.   

As more and more young women/activists get the chance to take 10 days off their busy lives to listen, study, reflect and discuss intensively with their peers and mentors about the most intimate and political topic of their lives – SEXUALITY – the impact will be a growing mass of enlightened and brave women who will go on to influence their families, friends, colleagues and partners, and multiply the impact of this intensive and deep experience.

In the words of the participants:

Toyin Ajao:

“My participation in the 2011 sexuality, Gender and Rights Institute organized by CREA has been a wholesome knowledge based experience for me. I was glad to have this opportunity to know what  feminists, women’s and gender activists like me should know to have a broad based knowledge and conceptual framework to better do my job, to better impact the others and to have a non-biased analysis and approach to engaging in the issues of sexuality!’

Indry Octaviani:

“No Assumption! Yes assuming people on their sexuality, many times lead us to bias conclusion.  The SGRI 2011 has opened my mind to learn more about others sexuality by raising more questions, even the uncomfortable question, to understand others sexuality. That is the bottom line in understanding the ‘sexuality’ as a concept that is different from time to time, or place to place, or culture to culture. Situation that we considered violence could be different from the perspective of the person who takes part on it, even the person that we considered as ‘victim’. That basic concept was able to raise critical question to reflect on the work I’ve done in women’s issue, and questioning the sexuality as a concept itself. “